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Let's go bowling: Predicting this year's 35 college football bowl games

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18 2013 1:56 a.m. MST

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Associated Press
Arkansas State (7-5, 5-2 Sun Belt) vs. Ball State (10-2, 7-1 MAC)

Jan. 5, 7 p.m. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.

TV: ESPN

What does the final game before the national title contest have in store? Two teams from conferences near the bottom of FBS football.

Ball State looks to have the clear edge here. The Cardinals won eight of their last nine games, the lone loss coming against ranked Northern Illinois. Plus, quarterback Keith Wenning has thrown for 34 touchdowns and 3,933 yards. Arkansas State also lost its head coach, as Bryan Harsin was hired to replace Chris Petersen at Boise State.

Prediction: Ball State 42, Arkansas State 17
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KTC John
Wetumpka, AL

There are 10 teams from the ACC in bowl games: Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, Pittsburg, Syracuse, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, and North Carolina. You picked all 10 of them to lose. Can you please provide me the name and contact information for your bookie?

Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY

I predict Washington will beat BYU by at least 10 points. Washington is an excellent team, and BYU has shown several times this year that they struggle against most good teams. I have very little expectation that Coach Anae will bring a good game plan to this one, since he has struggled mightily with dumping over the top to running backs, passes up the seams to tight ends, and screen passes. There are no trick plays. The opponent defense is never on its heels because everything is too predictable.

Now, having set my expectations low, I beg the Cougars to exceed my expectations and play like you really mean it. Every down matters. Every player matters. Every tackle in essential. If Coach Anae is going to call 20 running plays for Taysom Hill, then every block by the offensive line is critical to the success of the play. I wish you the best game of the year. Please bring it to the field and leave nothing behind.

John S. Harvey
Sandy, UT

While USU might lose its game (I would put it at basically a toss-up - as do most professional predictors) there is no way USU loses by 10 points. I expect the winning margin to be three or four points - maybe two, no matter who wins.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Washington is a very average Pac 12 team, and byu would most certainly NOT be an average Pac 12 if we ever invited them(we wont)

And yes, I'd rather face the #1 schedule in the country and have some growing pains and not go bowling as we improve our program as opposed to being on the outside looking in, just wishing a big time conference would call and getting wins mostly against non power conference programs. Even if it means not going bowling with the #1 schedule in the country. In a few years byu will still be wishing the pac 12/big 12 would call(we wont), still beating up on mostly nobodies(See 2014 schedule of Virginia(LOL), Cal(12th of 12 in Pac 12) and Texas as the ONLY power conference teams you play the whole season.

Washington 34
go fast go hard byu 20

Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT

BYU's opponents predicted 1-7; Utah's opponents predicted 7-3.

Sounds about right!

DEW Cougars
Sandy, UT

Hey Deseret News, are you guys going to put in the "Grid Picks" for this bowl game this year? You have done it before but still no pick this time yet. Oh yeah, I like to see how poorly chrissy do by picking "u" in this pick if dound.

Aggie238
Logan, UT

Seems like whoever made these predictions just drew names out of a hat and then tried to come up with justification for the random pick. San Diego State will lose because it struggles with teams which have losing records? Really? What kind of a metric is that? While I'm not predicting a USU win at this point, it's a little bit off to compare NIU to Fresno State. Sure they were both would-be BCS busters, but NIU is a much more run-heavy team, which plays to Utah State's defensive strengths, rather than their defensive weakness like FSU's passing attack. In fact, NIU and FSU are basically flipped in terms of offensive strengths. Even so, U-State's D held FSU to a season low, and USU only lost by a TD in a game that was actually pretty close. I predict an even closer game against NIU. U-State will stop the run and force NIU to throw over the top of the defense. After that, it comes down to the Aggies' offense. If it's improved significantly, U-State will win. If not, USU will lose in a nailbiter.

Anyway, this list seems like only a half-hearted effort at any analysis, particularly of local teams.

Cool Cat Cosmo
Payson, UT

It really makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that some Ute fans still care enough to think about how BYU will do this bowl game (wipe away a tear), especially considering that their own team is NOT bowling.

To them I offer an invite to come over and watch the game at my house; no one should be 'football-less' for the holidays, that's just not right...

BeSmart
Cheyenne, WY

Congrats to the teams that made bowls.
I find it interesting that blogger is a member of the Pac-12 presidents since he has a vote.
Congrats on you wanting this I applaud you for that. But fans of other teams are happy with a tougher than most power conference schedules and a bowl bid.
Football in December what a great Christmas gift.
Maybe the Utes can give their fans that next year.

Denver to Portland
Portland, OR

BYU 35
UW 27

Utah Utes 0
Couch Potatoes 14

Rose Bowl call yet?
Salt Lake City, UT

Chris B

"Washington is a very average Pac 12 team, and BYU would most certainly NOT be an average Pac 12..."

If Washington is a very average PAC 12 team, what does that say about the Utes who have NEVER beaten the Huskies, EVER?

BYU is 4-4 versus Washington, 2-0 during the Bronco era
Utah is 0-8 versus Washington, 0-2 during the Kyle era

Bronco is 9-8(53%) versus PAC teams
Kyle is 13-21(38%) versus PAC teams

The record speaks for itself; BYU would be MUCH MORE competitive in the PAC than the bottom dwelling Utes have been.

This will be a close, hard-fought game, but BYU has a decent chance of winning if the Cougars score 30+ points.

Samwise
Salt Lake City, UT

I scrolled through all of the predictions but I must have missed the prediction for Utah's bowl game. What bowl are they in again this year? I keep forgetting. It must be a pretty good one since Utah is in the awesome Pac 12 conference. Even bottom dwellers from the Pac 12 are better then any team not from a BCS conference. At least that is what my Ute fan friends keep telling me.

As for the Fight Hunger Bowl, I think BYU has a chance but Washington is a very good opponent so I could see BYU losing. Official prediction from this BYU fan:

BYU 31
Washington 27

And for the heck of it, the Poinsettia Bowl:

Northern Illinois 37
USU 30

I hope USU wins though.

Go Cougars! Good luck Aggies! Have fun doing whatever you are going to do during Bowl Season, Utah!

LonestarRunner
Salt Lake City, UT

A week after giving up 37 points to Utah, Washington State held Washington to only 27 points.

BYU's defense is at least as good as WSU's, so BYU has a chance of beating Washington if BYU's offense shows up.

evansrichdm
west jordan , UT

Chirs B

I think at this point if BYU was given and invite there a good chance they would turn it down. It could be because BYU fans can watch BYU on ESPN and not pay extra for the pac 12 channel. TI a could also be because BYU like playing all over the nation, yes we get some good teams and not so good teams, but hey it is better then beating up on teams in the MT west conf.
To be honest you are right the pac 12 will not call up BYU, but I think it will have more to do with what BYU is and stands for and not so much it football program. I think you should admit that if BYU was in the pac 12 the other school would welcome it and how BYU sells tickets for the other team they are playing.

Ufan
Salt Lake City, UT

Just a guess:

BYU 27
Wash 24

BYU has a chance if they can slow down Washington's potent rushing attack.

morpunkt
Glendora, CA

Utah will always another Colorado in the PAC 12. That's because the best blue chip athletes don't like the snow.

Horrible Stumper
Hyrum, UT

The predictions.....not so hot. Chris B's comments....same drivel. BYU beats Washington by 3. Loss of a coach hurts Washington. USU, if their offense contributes at all, beats NIU by 7. NIU's run game plays to USU's strength. Still wondering if Chris B is one of the PAC-12 commissioners or if he just thinks he is. I have a hard time believing he is part of the "we" that extends invitations to play in the PAC-12. If he is part of the "we", he was smart picking 2 teams that the rest of the PAC-12 could use for practice and still make them money.

AZUTE1
Mesa, AZ

byu/uw becomes a toss-up w/the coaching change, otherwise the outcome would equate to what virtually always happens when byu plays a good team--L.

"....as they went on a five-game winning streak that included wins over Boise State, Houston, Georgia Tech and Utah State."

It should be noted that their UVA loss is hands-down the worst loss suffered by an in-state school in recent memory....I know '11 CU Is routinely brought up yet CU, following a typically brutal PAC-12 SOS, finished their season beating 3 BCS schools....UVA finished theirs having won only one other game after beating byu, against a FCS bottom-feeder at home.

The U owns byu.

UT had a lame-duck DC/HC, usu was CK-less, bsu is clearly far removed from their Kellen Moore glory years and returned minimal players, as well, GT is like AF used to be and right down bm's alley, UH's schedule was back-loaded, etc.

Heck, not even [3] carefully/deliberately placed bye-weeks helped, ISU before ND, included.

byu might have 2-3 wins w/our schedule this year, perhaps....PAC-12 schools constitute the Top-7 SOS rankings.

BlameItOnTheOfficials
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I'll be home playing my XBox this bowl season.

Go Utes!

twspears6007
Bakersfield, CA

USC by three better defense will overcome Fresno's Offence. Trenton

AZUTE1
Mesa, AZ

I'm curious to know how fsu's D, ranked #91 in Total D out of 123 total teams ranked, is going to hold USC to merely 21 points?

fsu amounts to nothing more than a cupcake w/their #110 ranked SOS....They're 11-1, yet rated #52 by Sagarin.

Conversely, USC went 9-4 against the #13 ranked SOS and is currently rated #20 by Sagarin.

Carr, alone, might make a few plays, but this USC team no longer possesses their Kiffin-cancer and won't be distracted by it all.

fsu has feasted upon virtually all very, very poor teams.

SEC Rules
Seminole, FL

This is the end of the BCS Era. In late January the Super Conferences will meet with the NCAA and post their demands. College football is going to change.

Mikeylikesit
Davis, UT

Christy
Find it interesting that you use "we" constantly when you have nothing to do with any outcome at anytime in any sport at the _
Get a life! If it wasn't for this site, you and "_ fan" wouldn't have anything to do this holiday season.

Robyuuki
Lewisburg, PA

Go Cougs and Go Aggies. Post season play is enjoyable for us all. Thank you and the fans for such great entertainment. Please make it entertainment and play hard and well. Memories of these bowl games last a long time. As part of the famed miracle bowl, I can speak from experience, that plays and fans alike will remember these moments for a long time. Just ask Van about last year's bowl game.:) He will never forget that, nor shall we.

tinplater
scottsdale, AZ

Why does Chris B labor under the delusion that USU wants to be in any conference beside the MWC? USU would never be championship competitive with Pac 12 schools, and would unfairly dominate Big Sky. USU is right where it deserves to be and no one is sitting by waiting for the PAC 12 or any other conference to call. I view a successful team not in terms of wins losses or best/worst but rather did you play your best to your fullest capability? This Aggie team, despite losing 5 offensive starters refused to give up. To me they are champions. They had a better season by my criteria than any other team, particularly the Utes who are underachievers.

Floyd Johnson
Broken Arrow, OK

The author the missed the opportunity to include "payout" in the list. It is interesting information.

12 bowls pay $1 million or less. I would guess most teams would need $600,000 to break even.

Poinsettia (Utah State) $500,000
Fight Huger (BYU) $837,500
Las Vegas Bowl $1.1 million
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl $325,000 (lowest)
BCS Championship $22 million (highest)
Sun Bowl unranked Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. #17 UCLA (9-3) $2 million

SlopJ30
St Louis, MO

Mikeylikesit beat me to it . . Chris's "we" schtick never fails to deliver. In the playground pecking order, Utah is the occasionally amusing comic relief hanging around the fringes of the popular crowd. Chris himself is that kid's 2nd cousin in a different state who the popluar kids have never heard of.

DRay
Roy, UT

thanks to Floyd Johnson for the payout info on bowl games...predictions are thought provoking but I put little trust in them, BYU will win over WU because of coaching situation there, and the blue Cougars will fight hard to keep the bowl streak alive. Utah State will also win over NIU...hope Anae turns the Y offense loose to open up the game, and please use the tight ends as receivers. And remember: it all starts with the offensive line.

Uteology
East Salt Lake City, Utah

"The record speaks for itself; BYU would be MUCH MORE competitive in the PAC than the bottom dwelling Utes have been."

-- I Choose Fantasy

What happens to bowl games when/if the BIG 5 split? Will games like BYU vs Washington or Fresno vs USC still occur?

cowshed
Provo, Utah

This is not a list. It's a slideshow/powerpoint presentation. Please use proper terminology.

Rockwell
Baltimore, MD

Uteology

"What happens to bowl games when/if the BIG 5 split?"

NOTHING.

The "big 5" are already getting the concessions they sought from the NCAA, so there's no longer any incentive for them to "split".

The truth is, big 5 teams NEED non-big 5 opponents, or more than half of the big 5 teams would finish with losing records. Even if they changed the rules to allow teams with losing records to play in a bowl, trying to market 5-7 teams as an interesting opponents would be a disaster both for the bowls as well as bowl sponsors and advertisers.

CO Ute
PARKER, CO

If UW hadn't undergone the coaching change I think we would easily roll over BYU but curious to see if their team will show up. The Huskies have a lot of talent at many positions but I consider this game a toss up right now; especially if Van Noy has a few weeks to get back to his normal skill level and plays up to his potential.

The most amusing post was from RoseBowlCallYet and was repeated. To say that BYU would be more competitive than Utah in the PAC 12 made me literally laugh out loud. How competitive have they been with Utah the past 3 years during our tenure in the conference? How have they done against decent teams from BCS conferences recently? 9 of the PAC teams made bowl games and the Y couldn't beat the one team they played that didn't make a bowl. You can delude yourself that beating teams like Houston, Boise, and USU means that your team would do well playing the big boys every week or accept the team for what they are - a good mid major and nothing more.

Dr. Doug
Littleton, CO

Go Noles!

eagle
Provo, UT

Bet the mortgage on BYU. Whatever coaching staff at UW will be disinterested and will spend more time filling out resumes for their next job vs. breaking down game film. This reminds me of when BYU creamed OU years ago in the same situation. Those coaches going with Sark, if they are still working, are more into defining their new roles and recruiting territory. There is no more of a sure bet than betting against the team with a lameduck coach situation. There are rare occasions like when the Utes went undefeated with Urban Meyer. But that's when you have something to prove and a golden season to complete. UW is meandering through a somewhat disappointing season.

For BYU, the bowl game is the apex of their season. Bronco has a very good record in bowl games. I don't know if BYU wins, but they'll cover the spread. But I actually see them winning outright if I had to choose.

Kralon
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA

@ThomasJefferson - using Sagarin's stats the Utes had the 3rd toughest SOS (so far, it will be adjusted again after the bowl games). BYU is currently at 37th toughest SOS and Utah State at 83rd.

BCS rankings, which won't really matter until next year, show Utah at 66th, BYU at 32nd and Utah State at 72nd.

scenic view
Baltimore, MD

CO Ute

Who's deluding who?

The Utes haven't even been close to "competitive" in the PAC - 4-5, 3-6, 2-7...

Face it, BYU has been more competitive in the conference play for the past 50 years, first in the WAC, then the MWC, and they certainly would be in the PAC.

Bronco's 53% winning percentage versus Kyle's 38% winning percentage versus PAC teams says it all.

One game does not a season make.

Stanford couldn't beat the Utes either, but that didn't stop the Cardinal from winning the PAC 12 championship.

Nobody's saying BYU would be regular conference contenders, but simply not losing to teams like Colorado and Washington State would make BYU more competitive in the PAC than the Utes have been.

AZUTE1
Mesa, AZ

tj--

"To those who habitually like to spin, Utah did NOT have the # 1 SOS in the Nation. They had a very good one, somewhere around # 8-10, but NOT # 1. Please be real and correct in your blogging!"

Per the sagarin ratings, were #1 for a large chunk of this season and finished our regular season merely 2 spots below at #3....Furthermore, the Top-7 spots were occupied by PAC-12 Schools

coUTE--

One key-element establishing the palpable disparity between our 2 respective schedules in terms of strength is how we [gratefully so, mind you] face byu's worst-nightmare in playing against a real/legitimate week-in/week-out grind, a gauntlet beginning against OSU/ending against WAZZU....This is why we finished as the highest rated school by sagarin w/a losing record, merely 3 spots/.46 behind byu, in-spite of the latter posting 3 Ws more, and merely 2 spots/.22 behind the sole school finishing at .500 in WAZZU, which also claimed the nations #1 ranked SOS.

Even getting PAC-12 schools randomly over the past 3-YRS, byu still only beat 2 bottom-feeders/smashed at home by only 2 over.500/0-3 vs The U/2-4 overall.

phoenix
Gilbert, AZ

AZUTE1

Bottom line, despite the disparity in SOS, Sagarin still ranks BYU higher than Utah:

#29 BYU(8-4) #37 SOS
#32 Utah(5-7) #3 SOS

In the final computer rankings for the BCS, which the Utes used to be so fond of touting as the end-all-be-all of the "new era", Sagarin ranks BYU #31, Utah #65.

Overall BCS computer rankings, which factor SOS heavily, don't love the Utes nearly as much (Sagarin, Colley, A-H, Billingsley, Massey, Wolfe = CPU Avg)

BYU - 31, 33, 36, 35, 41, 36 = 35 average
Utah - 60, 58, 45, 65, 39, 52 = 54 average

Samwise
Salt Lake City, UT

@BlameItOnTheOfficials

I nominate you for most awesome comment on this thread. Short, to the point, X Box. Can't ask for anything better in a comment. I must admit I am a bit biased because it seems to be in reply to my earlier post but I could be wrong. You only lost points in my book because of your "Go Utes!", but I awarded many of those back because it was a necessary part of your post, to indicate that is what you will do during Bowl season because you are a Ute fan. If it was in my power, I would officially declare you the winner of the comments for this "list" right now. I have no problem with Ute fans who are cool, like you seem to be based solely on this one comment. In fact I have a lot of Ute fan friends. Oh and as always, Go Cougars! And as sometimes, Good Luck Aggies! and now that I know the proper thing to say, have fun playing X Box, Utes!

skywalker
Palo Alto, CA

Yahoo's Dashing through the college football bowl season:

Best Holiday Bowl Ever: BYU 46, SMU 45 in 1980. One of the most famous bowl games ever. The Mustangs led 45-25 with four minutes left in the game – and lost in regulation.

Best Armed Forces Bowl Ever: BYU 21, Tulsa 17 in 2011. Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson called it himself: a fake spike pass to Cody Hoffman. It worked for a touchdown with 11 seconds left, capping a drive on which Nelson converted a fourth-and-9 and third-and-5 with scrambles.

Worst Las Vegas Bowl Ever: Utah 10, USC 6 in 2001. Glum Christmas Day affair saw the Trojans rush for one yard and finish the year 6-6.

Worst Armed Forces Bowl Ever: Utah 25, Houston 13 in 2006. Surest sign your game is not a classic: when the MVP is a place kicker (Utah's Louie Sakoda).

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

Hard to pick this one. BYU has played Wisconsin and ND tough so Washington isn't going to show them anything new. It will all come down to how Hill plays and the O-line plays. I can see BYU winning or losing by 10.

Gone fishin
Seattle, WA

My prediction,
Chris B - 3 bags of Lays Potato chips and 2 12-pks of diet soda and a whole lotta of tears after BYU rolls UW.

AF_Aggie
North Las Vegas, NV

So far they're 1 for 4 in these predictions. It doesn't seem they were well thought out anyways. I imagine they will be wrong on the USU game as well, but hopefully correct on the UW/BYU game. I'm not a flag waving Cougar fan, but I'm a little weary of hearing about the might PAC power conference. USC already rolled Fresno, but hopefully the rest can be taken down a notch.

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